Pick It: Jose Pedraza vs. Mikkel LesPierre (Thursday, ESPN, 8 PM EST)
After a slight delay due to Covid-related issues, this intriguing main event is back on. As noted in an intended preview then, the story is probably more intriguing for Pedraza (26-3, 13 KO). The former two division titlist is 1-2 in his last three fights and, while neither was what one would call a bad loss, he’s now competing at Jr. welterweight.
Another loss in the class so soon after arriving would put him on the verge of the line between contention and gatekeeping. Pedraza is fighting to remain as much as he is to win. LesPierre (22-1-1, 10 KO) is a former title challenger who would have little chance for a second shot with a loss. That’s combustible enough to leave room for pre-July 4th fireworks.
Also of note on the card Thursday, promising lightweight Albert Bell (16-0, 5 KO), ironically of Ohio, if not Cleveland), faces Mark Bernaldez (20-3, 14 KO) and Olympic Gold Medalist Robeisy Ramirez (3-1, 3 KO) makes the most of this time in boxing with his second appearance in less than a month. The one-time Cuban standout isn’t wasting any time putting his disappointing pro debut behind him.
Additional Show to Watch For
Tuesday – Saucedo vs. Fredrickson
While Thursday has the higher profile card, this might be the more entertaining main from a viewer’s perspective. 26-year old Alex Saucedo (29-1, 19 KO) suffered his only defeat by stoppage in a title challenge of Maurice Hooker in 2018. Overall though, he’s 4-1 in his last five and all the wins came inside the route. 25-year old Sonny Fredrickson (21-2, 14 KO) has also been stopped only once and enters off a narrow decision loss his last time out. 22-year old Bronx native Josue Vargas (16-1, 9 KO) is also in action against Salvador Briceno (17-5, 11 KO). Vargas’ only defeat came by disqualification in his sixth start. Briceno has been stopped twice but both were before a run of 4-2 in his last six fights. Briceno enters off a knockout win.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com